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Private hospitals outline obstacles holding back growth

By JT - May 21,2016 - Last updated at May 21,2016

Members of the new board of directors of the Private Hospitals Association (Photo courtesy of PHA)

AMMAN – The general assembly of the Private Hospitals Association (PHA) on Saturday discussed obstacles holding back growth at the sector. 

According to a PHA statement, e-mailed to The Jordan Times, the issue of debts owed by the government in addition to those owed by Libya and Yemen topped the list of concerns of the general assembly, who said unpaid debts are affecting private hospitals' ability to pay their financial obligations to suppliers. 

The value of the debts was not disclosed in the statement. But in remarks to The Jordan Times last year, PHA President Fawzi Hammouri  said unpaid debts owed by Libya and Yemen and Jordanian patients exceed $180 million. 

At the ordinary general assembly meeting, the statement said that stakeholders  cited  electricity tariff imposed on hospitals as "too high" as it  threefold higher than other economic sectors. 

The attendees of the general assembly also urged the government to facilitate the establishment of a solar-power electricity generation plant with a 50megwatt capacity to supply hospitals with cheaper and cleaner power. 

The statement said that a shortage in nurses was cited as another obstacle facing hospitals, adding it negatively affects the quality of services offered by private healthcare providers. 

During the meeting, Hammouri presented a detailed report on the activities and achievements of the association during 2015 in addition to administrative and financial reports, which the statement said were approved by the general assembly. 

The PHA said it launched more than 30 marketing activities in the past two years. 

Despite success and achievements Jordan made in the field of medical tourism, the PHA said the government's decision to impose visa restrictions on some Arab and foreign nationalities caused a decrease in the number of patients coming from those countries, who instead headed to Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia and India, the statement said. 

Late 2015, the government decided to regulate the entry of Libyan, Yemeni and Sudanese nationals into Jordan through the visa system. 

"If the visa system continues, Jordan could lose its status of being ranked first in the field of medical tourism in the region," said Hammouri.

Hammouri was re-elected as the president of the new board of directors of PHA. 

There are 61 private hospitals in the Kingdom with around 4,600 beds, and they employ 50 per cent of workers in the health sector, according to PHA figures.

 

The association is a private voluntary, non-profit organisation established in 1984 to represent Jordanian private hospitals and their interests, the statement said.

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